The American Austin Bantam was a hit from the moment the first one left the assembly line. The body design for the little car was by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky for the Hayes Body Corporation, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. As Robert D. Cunningham has stated in our earlier history of the car: “The Hayes designs captured the hearts and emotions of people who loved puppies, kittens and babies.
The cute little car should have been a runaway success, but it was the victim of bad timing. The company’s stock went public just nineteen days before “Black Tuesday” the day stock market crashed in 1929. You can learn the complete and interesting story behind the development and production of the little car in the four-part American Austin Bantam Story here on The Old Motor. Photo courtesy of the Benjamin Ames Photo Collection.